DAB’s real future is mobile TV: Channel 4 UK

The UK’s Channel 4 Radio and British Telecom’s Movio mobile TV service are investigating the use of more of the country’s DAB bandwidth for distributing mobile TV channels.

Britain is currently in the process of allocating a second DAB multiplex and Channel 4 Radio is one of the frontrunners to secure the licence.

Nathalie Schwarz, director of Channel 4 Radio is quoted in the UK press today as saying: “It seems a natural fit for BT Movio and Channel 4 Radio to work together and focus on bringing digital radio to the mobile environment.”

BT Movio sends BBC1, ITV1, ITN News, Channel 4 and E4 to mobile handsets in 64kbit/sec MPEG4 AVC video and has been on air since October last year.

Despite the very low bitrate, user feedback has been positive, however a doubling of the available bandwidth to around 128kbps would drastically increase the user experience.

The move could have implications in Australia now that the AACplus codec has been mandated, allowing stations a similar datarate for non-radio services.

It could also allow Australian radio stations a backdoor into the mobile video market, competing with the Government’s DVB-H mobile licence that has yet to be auctioned.